...And helllooooo San Francisco!

Yay, I get to go home!! I have been gone so long I feel like a visitor now. Well, really I am a visitor. I don't have a home; my brother took it. So I have to stay with him. I was talking to a friend last night and he said "so you go home and sleep on your own couch?" Well, really, that about sums it up. Yes, yes I do. And he sleeps in my bed. Hmm. Something seems wrong about this story!

So next Friday I board an airplane in New Orleans and I arrive in San Francisco with just enough time to do one of my favorite things at one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people. That would be a) Eat, b) Indian Food - Chu
tney..mmmm and c) K. Then in the next few days, I will eat all the food that I have been missing while in the fried food mecca of the US, aka the South. I mean, they think they have REAL Mexican food! All I can say to that is HA! They have never tasted real Mexican food (well maybe I never have either, but the Mexican in California is awesome!) They also think that anything healthy, ie vegetables or fish, should be fried! And probably dipped into a weird red or brown sauce while you are at it. Actually, in New Orleans there are many choices for good food, but I am still missing my California/San Francisco roots!
So I will go home, spend some time in San Francisco with some friends, eat like a pig all weekend, and then my bro and I are going up to Mom and Dad's house to do some fishing, swimming, sunbathing and fair-going. Last time I went fishing with my Dad, he and K both caught fish but I did not, so hopefully I have better luck this time. I can't wait to sit by the river and relax with the dog, a good book and a sunny day.

After that it is back to San Francisco for a little more culinary goodness, then I am onto the next leg of my journey..... The Philippines! More about that later!


Farewell Louisiana!

Well, the end is near.... I will leave Louisiana in about a week and never look back. Okay so maybe I will come back and visit the few locals that I have met while I was here.... And I will definitely remember the fun times that I had and great friends that I have met while I was here. And there were so many!

The first day I got here in October '05, I took the infamous "9th Ward Tour" where I saw devistation like I had never seen before. It was like New Olreans had gone to war and lost very, very badly. In the 9 months since then, there has been so much progress; I can
almost imagine that the city may someday be the same (well, at least similar) to what it was before. But to the casual observer, who never saw the level of devistation in the beginning, it looks as if barely any work has been done at all. There are still abandoned cars, boats in the street, traffic lights and power that doesn't work, huge abandoned malls, restaraunts and neighborhoods. There are still so many people living in trailers....

It has been such a cool thing to be a part of this; through all of the politics, the grief and the finger
pointing, through the corruption, the deceit and the lies, through the good times and the bad... we have been face to face with a total disaster and lived! There is still a long way to go for New Orleans, but I am moving on. I am done here; I have said my piece, I have done my bit and I have been a part of history. It's not over yet, but I will leave it for others to finish.

Katrina came, she saw, she conquered! But we shall overcome! New Orleans will rise again!

I will miss this place...


What actually goes on in New Orleans

Whaaat(?) really does go on in New Orleans these days? Well first of all, like they say, "what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans." Or is that Vegas? I can never remember. You can look at that statement a couple of different ways.

First of all, I think that many people who are not in Lousiana think that sure, the Hurricane came through and messed everything up, but that people should be over it by now! For goodness sakes, it has already been almost a year since it happened. That is plenty of time to get everything back to normal, right? Well, the people who say this...have never been to Louisiana! So, what is happening here...is staying here. The real news doesn't get out to the public. Well, if you count the crap the media spews out, I guess there is news, but not very real. The city has not been rebuilt. The city is not back to normal. "Le Bon Temps" are "roulez" but not as hard as they used to.

Of course the people of this city want to rebuild, to forget... but many of them are not coming back. What will happen to the spirit of New Orleans? Did you know that before the storm, in a city of roughly 600,000 people, there was an average of 1 murder per day here? Do you know that 1 year later, with a rough population of about 200,000 (many of these being contractors or relief workers) there is STILL 1 murder per day!? Public Schools with overall enrollments of 12,000 in 2004-05 have a total enrollment of 1,200 for 2005-06. One tenth of the student population has returned. How long will it take for the other 9/10 to come back? Will they come back? I have talked to many people that, especially because of their children and the importance of having them in a good school, have moved away for good..

You can also look at the opening statement in a good light. The things that used to happen before the storm, the life that New Orleans had, the jive, the vibe, it has stayed. People are broke, they are fighting over insurance settlements, they are trying to start their business back up, to raise their kids, to fix their houses... But this city still has life. It will never lose the glow, the allure, the fun that it has.

Men at Work (no, not the band)

Men at Work (no, not the band)
Okay there are are all these old guys at work and if we do not know their names, we just make something up.
For instance, there is "old guy smoking", who is ALWAYS out front puffing on a cigarette. And he is all wrinkled and grey and...always smoking. Hence the name. Then there is "curly q-tip". Well this has a background story though. A Q-tip is an old guy with white hair. And don't get me wrong, this is not prejudice or rude; a q-tip told me about it! So...in my office we have A LOT of q-tips. In fact, mostly q-tips. 97% q-tips, 3% under 50s. What can you do? So anyway, "curly q" has a funny wild and crazy head full of curly grey hair. He also has another name - stoney-q, but that is only becuase he walks soooo slow and he always had droopy eyes. I even caught him eating a kit-kat the other day at his desk! Can you imagine! Then...there is "grumbles"; he is a guy on my team who is about 70. He sits at his computer all day and complains about everything...the weather, the computer is too slow/too fast, people are too loud/too quiet/too black/too white..... he never gets enough! Then there is "creepy guy" who stares at me every time he walks by... Chris had a guy that sat behind him that always had a fan on at his desk which blew him all around - "fan guy". And then there is "bear claw guy" who brings a bear claw to work every day and eats it precisely at a certain time every day.
So the other day I was at a bar with Lea, having a drink and who shows up but "old guy smoking!" And he wasn't smoking! That totally destroyed my image of him. Then a few days after that, I was at my desk and I must have been staring at "curly-q" because he said hi to me (at least his hair was still curly). Turns out, get this, they both have names! Haha. Things will never be the same after this.
Old guy smoking = MikeCurly Q = SonnyGrumbles = JohnFan Guy = undeterminedBear Claw Guy = undetermined
If anyone knows the identities of Fan or Bear Claw guy, I would be interested to know....

uptown pub golf extravaganza!


For those of you who have never played a round of pub golf, I recommend it! A couple weekends ago, we got about 20 people together to make up 10 teams of two, each with a caddie and a golfer (we switched at each bar). It all started at my house (the clubhouse) where we got the teams together by picking not numbers but golf terms (I was one half of the "divot" team). Then we began the game. There were 9 holes (bars) on the course.

The terms: at each hole, the golfer has to drink. However many drinks it takes to finish the drink is your score for that hole. So... down it in one - hole in one... If the golfer cannot finish, the caddie may finish for them. At each hole, the caddie and the golfer swap roles.
By the end of the route, the scores were pretty much even, but by then nobody was counting anyway!

Kudos to Brenda - she can down a beer in about 2.54 seconds! Also congrats to Noel - this time he was both the first to pass out AND to puke!